Child Rights Governance


In many societies, children are the most marginalised and vulnerable members. Save the Children believes that all children should have a voice and be consulted about how communities make decisions that affect them. It’s only when children are heard that we can ensure their rights are upheld and duty bearers are held to account.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child is an international agreement that holds the government and other key duty bearers - such as teachers, parents and community members - responsible for the fulfilment and protection of the rights of children. The UNCRC was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989 and 193 countries have since ratified the Convention. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) has also been adopted by the African Union member States as an Africa-specific child rights instrument.

In ratifying the UNCRC and ACRWC, Kenya has formally agreed to make sure that every child in the country can fulfil their rights. These include the right to good quality healthcare and to clean water, nutritious food and a clean environment so they can stay healthy; an education; and to a standard of living that is good enough to meet children’s physical and mental needs. There are also a number of a number of articles in the Kenyan Constitution which are dedicated to safeguarding the rights and welfare of the child.

Despite these formal government commitments, there are still formidable challenges which undermine the ability of children in Kenya to fulfil their rights. Securing duty bearers’ commitment to protecting and promoting children’s rights can be difficult and there is often a lack of transparency in the decision making processes that affect children. Furthermore, in the absence of a clear framework to involve children in the government’s social and policy making processes, children’s issues often continue to be deprioritized.

Children from Kiambu, Kenya join over 20,000 other children from over 40 countries around the world joined Save the Children's World Marathon Challenge in October 2012 to raise awareness of malnutrition.  This year, Save the Children is working to give all children a voice and improve their wellbeing.


Save the Children believes that it is crucial that the UNCRC and ACRWC be implemented at a national, county and local level in Kenya, so that children can realise their rights and reach their potential as they grow up. The effective implementation of the UNCRC and ACWRC is not only important in its own right, but also provides a solid foundation on which to deliver our work in other areas such as child protection, education and health.

Through our child rights governance work, Save the Children is improving the implementation of the UNCRC, the AWRWC and Kenya’s legal framework protecting the rights of the child, and helping to create a strong civil society that can hold the government and other duty bearers to account. We also support the government to increase its accountability to children. By doing this, we will help to ensure that the UNCRC is implemented to the greatest degree possible and the wellbeing of children is improved. In order to achieve this goal:

We are strengthening child-friendly systems and structures

Save the Children is advocating for the Kenyan government to fulfil its obligation under the UNCRC and strengthen the national legal framework in order to comply with international child rights standards. We work closely with children and local civil society groups to lobby for the entrenchment of provisions that protect the rights of children in the 2010 Constitution of Kenya. Part of this involves monitoring legislation which affects children while in the early stages to ensure that it complies with child rights. It also includes budget monitoring at the national and county levels to ensure that children’s issues are adequately financed and provided for.

We are empowering children and civil society organisations to hold duty bearers to account

Alongside our direct work with the government, Save the Children is giving children the opportunity to have a voice on the issue of child rights and to influence government policies which affect their lives. For example, we have been instrumental in setting up Child Rights Clubs in schools to build young people’s awareness of their rights and to give young people the chance to discuss issue that affect them in a protective environment. In order to allow children’s views to reach a broad audience, we’re working with them to produce child-led radio shows which raise awareness of child rights issues.

Save the Children provides ongoing support to Children’s Assemblies at national, regional and local levels, ensuring the participation of society’s most vulnerable children. These Assemblies create forums for children to engage in dialogue and bring their concerns to duty bearers. By doing this, young people are empowered to help influence both policy formation and its implementation.

Civil society organisations in Kenya also benefit from Save the Children’s capacity building and awareness raising work. In 2012 we provided training and support to local organisations that in turn directly reached more than 5,200 children with child rights governance activities.

Watch Save the Children’s new short videos communicating our approaches and results seen through children’s playful perspective


The Art of Mobilizing:

The Art of Providing Evidence:

The Art of Speaking Out: